CAPTION: Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Beta RR300), the early leader in this season’s New Zealand Enduro Championships series. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Taupo’s Brad Groombridge knows a thing or two about winning enduro events and actually he’s quite good at motocross and cross-country racing too.

This season’s five-round Yamaha-sponsored New Zealand Enduro Championships kicked off at Omihi, near Christchurch, at the weekend, and the gruelling back-to-back two days of tough racing on steep farmland certainly required a diverse range of off-road bike riding skills.

Hosted by the Christchurch Off-Road Motorcycle Club, the weekend’s racing included a sprint format event on Saturday, followed by a traditional timecard enduro race on Sunday and, on both days, it was Groombridge who led the way in the premier AA grade competition.

This may not have surprised too many people because Groombridge is a three-time former New Zealand cross-country champion (winning in consecutive seasons, in 2016, 2017 and 2018) and twice previously won the New Zealand Enduro Championships overall, in 2016 and again in 2018. He has also finished among the top five in the New Zealand Motocross Championships in past years.

Several leading riders from previous seasons, men such as Oparau’s former New Zealand cross-country champion and current New Zealand MX2 motocross champion James Scott, Omihi’s defending New Zealand enduro champion Ethan McBreen, Nelson’s Bailey Basalaj, Taupo’s 2023 New Zealand cross-country champion Wil Yeoman and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton, to name a few, did keep Groombridge on his toes throughout the two days.

There is no time to rest on laurels however, with round two scheduled in less than a week’s time, at 981 Whitecliffs Road, Coalgate Canterbury, inland from Christchurch.

The next two rounds after that are at separate venues – near Wellington and Martinborough respectively – on consecutive weekends in the North Island in June, with the fifth and final round a one-day competition, set for Bideford, near Masterton in November.

“The venue was a mix of steep and flat farmland, so it was fast in some places and quite tricky in others, fun but also challenging,” said Motorcycling New Zealand Enduro Commissioner Justin Stevenson.

Meanwhile, the leaders in the various AA grade (expert level) bike classes are Basalaj (E1, 0-200cc two-stroke and 0-300cc four-stroke class); Groombridge (E1, 201cc-to-open two-stroke class); Scott (E3, 301cc-to-open four-stroke class and Owaka’s Stu Affleck (Veterans over-40 years’ class).

The leading rider in the A grade (intermediate level) is New Plymouth’s Hayden Lockhart, with Paeroa’s Mark Whyte and Murchison’s Colby Monk rounding out the top three.

It’s interesting to note that this year’s International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) is set for Spain in October and the racing in New Zealand throughout this domestic series will help Stevenson make his selections for the New Zealand team to travel away for that.

In addition to Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, the 2024 NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.

2024 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1: April 20-21, 1045 Reece’s Road, Omihi, near Christchurch.

Round 2: April 27-28, 981 Whitecliffs Road, Coalgate, Canterbury.

Round 3: June 1-2, Porirua (signposted from SH 58, Haywards Hill Road) Moonshine Valley Road, Wellington.

Round 4: June 8-9, Ruakokoputuna Hall, near Martinborough.

Round 5: November 2, Bideford, near Masterton.


Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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Code No. MNZ-AM1074